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Vince's Journal
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Date:2007-04-18 23:33
Subject:Interesting Calculation

In sophomore  year of college, we were doing mass balances, and it was taught that water and carbon on Earth are essentially a free flowing substances in a well mixed container. As extra credit, the professor inquired how many carbon molecules in our bodies actually were also in Sir Issac Newton, and he provided rough numbers for us to estimate with. Later that day, I realized the that the Eucharist actually contains a significant quantity of the blood and body of Christ! However, it was not until Wikipedia arrived that I was able to gather up the data to actually find out how many molecules of Jesus' blood one consumes in a sip of wine.

Here are my assumptions and constants:

1) Humans (and Jesus) needs to produce 0.5 cc of urine per kilogram per hour to avoid renal failure
2) All of this urine was produced by ultrafiltration of  His blood
3) 0.5 cc urine contains approximately 0.5 g H2O
4) The hydrosphere of the Earth Contains 1.4 E +21 kg H2O
5) A sip of wine contains 50g of H2O
6) A mole of H2O weighs 18.02 g
7) Jesus lived 36 years
8) Over 2007 Years, the blood and urine of Jesus has become well mixed with the rest of the world's water
9) This water was incorporated into the grapes that made the wine for the Eucharist
10) Jesus weighed 70 kg

Plugging in these numbers, I found out that about 13 billion molecules out of every 50 grams of water was peed out by Jesus, and therefore presumably was part of his blood. Once I figure out how much the body of Christ weighs, I will try that calculation as well.

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Date:2006-07-10 22:28
Subject:Now that I have the time...
Mood: thoughtful

I have been pondering over various things since the last time I've been actually active on LJ, and figured I would write some of these things down.

Firstly, I think that the ecomony has become a huge self-perpetuating illusion. It's completely demand driven at this point, which is a weird thing to think about because it is not intuititve. What would be intuitive would be that you have a good or a service to provide, and someone else would need what you make and pay you for it- I'll grow oranges and you go fishing, if we trade, together we will neither get scurvy nor kwashikor. But in this system, all we would ever accomplish is having necessities like food, water, housing, guns, and TIVO. Somehow we have expanded our concept of "need" to include things like flat screen televisions, automobiles, granite kitchen counters, crown moulding, and I-Pods. And our need for (and subsequent purchase of) these things is how the people who make the TVs and I-Pods are able to themselves buy jet skis and sneakers with LEDs for their kids. We even need things like garlic roasters and George Foreman grills which basically only serve to occupy space in our cherry cabinets. There are a multitude of useless things that people are willing to pay good money for- things that would never be missed, though they might provide a product with a marginal increase in value. For instance, the rivets in jeans or the foil on gum wrappers.

Intuitively, the most successful economy ought to be the most efficient one. The one who is able to get the most iron and coal from the ground and make effective frying pans with the fewest people at the lowest cost ought to become dominant. This is true of an individual company. However, looking at our economy, it would seem that the most successful would be the one who convinces the consumer that they need the hugest stainless steel frying pan with a non-stick surface, a pretty box, a pink bow, and matching balloon. In fact, if you could make a rule that all frying pans needed to be free from asbestos as well, then you could generate hundreds of jobs for people to test frying pans for asbestos and then these people could afford to buy asbestos-free frying pans of their own. But some smart-ass would inevitably ask the question, "why would there every be asbestos in frying pans?" and then the inspectors would all be out of jobs and on unemployment. On unemployment, all they can buy is an orange and a fish to avoid geting scurvy and kwashikor, and they cannot listen to an I-Pod or watch a plasma screen TV at home. Soon, you will have a broken economy that is barely able to even prevent scurvy or kwashikor.

I think this is why centralized economies could never become as successful as a free-market economy. You can't think this crap up. It just happens.

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Date:2006-07-09 17:58
Subject:Catching up again...

So much to write all at once... let's see... since the last time I wrote...

1)     I got engaged to KBels.
FAQs answered below:

a.      When’s the wedding? | Well, we’ve decided not to decide until we’re sure we’ll be together for our first year. (i.e. we’re near each other for residency.) At that point, we will figure out how to get a long enough vacation to get married.

b.      How did I do it? … It was far from elaborate. I asked her parents earlier this year and got my aunt to help hunt around for a ring which I picked up during my surgery rotation. At the end of my rotation, I was checking on the ring one morning before work when she almost busted me. So
I quickly slipped it into my pocket. Shortly afterward, she hugged me for no apparent reason. So I took the opportunity to hold her tight and whisper in her ear, “Honey, will you marry me?” She smiled and looked at me with that “yeah, sure, of course, whatever” look that clearly indicated she had no idea what was about to happen. Then I said, “I’m not kidding…” and showed her the ring, at which point she started hyperventilating.

c.      What does the ring look like? It’s a carat brilliant cut center stone with two small trillions on the side set in platinum. (See Below)

2)     Having finished my surgery and pediatrics rotations,
I decided to pursue Family Practice as a career. Operating was fun, but if I wanted a hobby, would get a hobby. And operating was not fun enough to make the rest of the job endurable.

3)     I started fourth year at Eglin AFB. It’s been fun so far. I’ve been here for a week, and the people here seem really nice and
receptive to students.

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Date:2005-12-14 22:28

Man, I have been a slacker! I don't have any clue what's going on with anyone anymore. I come back here to find my friends are changing their account names, taking tests, and having birthdays?! Anyhow. I just survived my OB/GYN rotation and have emerged from the darkness of 14 hour days and random 24 hour shifts wondering what's going on in the world. To preempt some of your polite inquiries about "how the rotation went, I will share a few life lessons/insightful tidbits that I stumbled across during my time studying vaginas and uteruses: 1) Babies are mad slippery when they bust out; 2) birthing is much less like "a baby story" and much more like Alien; 3) OB/GYNs are counter-evolutionaries; 4) Vaginas are dirty, dirty places 5) Surgery is fun.

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Date:2005-07-14 11:52

I'm in my psych rotation, on a schizophrenic floor. Did you know that they take smoke breaks? I wonder what they're taking breaks from?

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Date:2005-05-08 11:50

I witnessed my first fatality from start to finish a few days ago (see below- hopefully this is not a HIPPA violatiion.... I don't think I put in any identifing material.) It's weird how fast death can come. When I met him, my patient was worried about leaving his sneakers behind. Being a homeless man living in a burned down carwash, the diarrhea soaked shoes constituted a large fraction of his net worth. At the time, it seemed odd to me that in all of his agony and peril, he was worried about his sneakers. Kris said that we're lucky to have all we have. I think we'd be lucky if we could learn to leave our sneakers behind before we leave this place.

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Date:2005-05-07 14:48
Subject:Leave the Sneakers

I'm not yet sure what the life lessons were, but I'm certain there was something profound about an experience I had recently. I got called for a male patient, sick, at the burnt-down carwash. Usually a "patient sick" call is a crappy call where some old guy has the flu or some kid has a stomachache and is puking (which was precisely what we go two calls later). Then you've got to take the dude into the hospital while you miss the season finale of Third Watch, and your Chinese takeout gets cold. However, the 'crappy' we expereinced in this particular call was a whole 'nother flavor of crappy.
I had some semblance of a clue from the location of the call. As soon as we got the page, I said to my driver, "Gotta love the calls where the address is 'next to the abandoned carwash.'" And I climbed into the bus, getting mentally ready for the various treats one typically finds at the abode of a homeless person. When we pulled up, there were two other homeless guys flagging us down frantically. Our patient was laying on his bed at the edge of the sooty threshold to the pre-soak section of the carwash. I grabbed the monitor/defibrillator and oxygen on my way over. "You're gonna need lots of gloves." said another medic who had arrived earlier.
"Is he alive?" I asked.
"I didn't get that close." was his answer as I continued past him. From just about where the attendants usually soak your tires and undercarriage, I could see that the man was breathing and moving about. I could also see that there were piles of chunky congealed blood placed randomly about under the faded awning of the carwash entrance. We wouldn't be needing the monitor immediately... best to keep it clean of blood. I ran the equipment back to the ambulance. In a moment of clarity I also tossed my Littman Master Classic stethescope into the front seat of the ambulance. I grabbed a backboard this time. As I went under the faded red and yellow plastic awning, I started to smell the foul, slightly metallic odor of blood mixed with the acrid smell of vomit, urine, and diarrhea. The piles of bloody vommit looked like raw blended liver from this close. And the stool was oily and black. Of course this was not was was flashing though my mind. What I was thinking was GI bleed. When I saw the man, jandiced, icteric, blood at his mouth, extremely obtunded, I was thinking, "ruptured a varix."
Then when I saw that he was lying in various pools of black diarrhea, I thought, "how am I going to keep this crap off of my clothes?"
As I got even closer, my main concern was trying to keep from vomitting myself. "Is this all diarrhea?" I asked as if hoping some of the fluid might have been the result of a freak accident with a case of motor oil. His response was, "yeah, it's coming out my ass right now."
"We're going to take you to the hopsital." I said, "I need to take off your shoes." This was not so much because I needed to see his feet or check his pedal pulse, but because they were covered in diarrhea, and removing the shoes would lower the chances I would ruin the fleece that my siblings bought me for Christmas. "Can you save them? They're all I've got." he said. My medic partner shakes his head. I concur: The sneakers stay on his bed in the carwash. In the back of the bus. We start a line and the monitor. He's sweatty and the leads won't stick. I look at the monitor. It's a lot of artifact for a little while, and then a scary looking rhythm comes into view. "Bill, please tell me he's got big T waves." My partner sticks his nose up to the screen and squints, "yeah, I think it's just sinus tachy."
I look a little more... yes! He had a little qrs before each huge T wave. "Looked a lot like V-Tach for a bit there." We print a strip and save it. I take off my fleece and toss it in the clean haven of the front seat with my stethoscope. His bloodpressure is nonetheless low and he is taching away at 120 beats a minute. He does not look hot at all. And there is crap all down my left leg. We need to start a line. "Listen buddy, we need you to take off your jacket. You need to help us, or we're going to have to cut it off."
We get the jacket off. We cut the next sweater off. I start on the white hooded sweatshirt underneath. "Not the white one, please." He pleads between moans. "Sorry man, I've got to get it off. We need to start an IV and get your blood pressure." I cut through the shirt. We start a line. I call medical control for a bolus of saline. The man on the other end tells me to wait while he checks with a doc. Wait?! My patient is circling the drain and the man wants me to wait. We get the order. Bill squeezes the saline bag as we ride in.
The nurse at the hopsital takes report and tells us to put him in a treatment room. My driver says, "I think you want him in the trauma room." She looks a little annoyed and says, "Listen, I've got to keep an eye on him. I can't do that if he's in the trauma room." We put him in the treatment room. He's complaining of difficulty breathing now. Probably his acites pushing on his lungs. Another nurse asks, "does he have to be on a board? I can't sit him up if he's on it." I say, "I guess not, we just used it to move him from where he was laying." In the back of my mind, I'm thinking he does not have fluid in his lungs and he might be just doing crappy enough that it may be good to have a solid surface underneath him. We move him over to the bed. And he suddenly looks acutely unwell. The IV has stopped flowing. The nurse and my partner try to find another vein. Some other nurse walks by and points out his breathing has gotten very shallow and he has stopped moaning. He still looks a little responsive. He wasn't really a big talker in the ambulance either... the doctor shows up and starts to give orders. Order O neg. get a blood type. get an ekg. For Gods sake, get a line. The monitor is put on. 120. just like when I left him. They futz around with the IV some more. I wander around a little bit, once in a while handing someone an IV catheter. I look at the screen. Oh boy. "Hey doc-" I point at the monitor. "He was at 120 when we got him and now he's at 90." She glances up. Before our eyes his pulse goes down from 90 to 72 to 40. The blood pressure monitor is blinking no reading. A look of revelation appears in a nurses eyes, "This is a code. We need to get the cart." She and a colleague go to the cart and start pulling. A loud bang. The equipment is still attached to the wall. They managed to unplug everything. At this point, Bill had finally suggested the doc to put an IV in the jugular vein and she gets it. Respiratory had arrived. Two attempts at intubation only succeeded in causing him to vomit blood into his mask. The monitor now showed V-Tach for real- no pulse confirms a nurse. "Doc- he's got big T waves," I warn her. She shocks him twice once the nurses figure out how to charge the defibrillator. I think he converts. She shocks him a few more times before someone points out he has a pulse. This continues on. I start doing paperwork and chatting to the EMT students in the room. I stress to them the importance of telling nurses what you think is going on. If he needs a trauma room, get him into a trauma room. It still does not occur to me that he might not survive this ordeal. We take to paperwork to the EMS room. I walk back to get a signature on my run report. To my surprise, they called the code. My crew is just as surprised. I go to clean up the stretcher while they finish up the paperwork. I ask a nurse for some paper scrubs. My jeans are garbage. They close all the doors in the hall before wheeling the body out. The stretcher's straps are trash- soaked in tarry stool. I take great care not to get any on my shirt. The doctor asks.
"What was his name?"
I give it. "Address?"
"We picked him up from a burnt-out carwash."
"What was he doing there?"
I look at her, hopefully not too incredulously, "He lived there."

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Date:2004-01-29 12:52

People are still whining about whether or not the decision to go to war was good or bad based on national security. What a joke. I personally think that war was a good idea to free the Iraqi people. I had no doubt that no matter what, it would increase the threat to Americans.

If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, they were safer in the hands of Saddam Hussein than the diffuse millitia that is in charge of security today. Even the former Soviet nations had trouble holding on to their nukes after the government toppled. And that didn't involve a massive military invasion and the obligatory chaos. (There's actually scary stories about the Red Mafia selling nukes- maybe we ought to take on Russia next. Any takers?)

The Kurds just handed over an al Qaeda operative in Northern Iraq. People think he was there to promote attacks against US boys. But it's possible he was in country to race against our man Kay. Hopefully Kay is making his testimony because there were never any weapons, and not because Abu Musab Zarqawi's operatives found them first.

Also, do you think that maybe this invasion pissed off a few people? Where do terrorists come from? Pissed off people. Where do they get their weapons from? Certainly not dictators. Dictators operate via a highly organized power structure. Empowering a terrorist is a dumb idea for a man who wants to keep the power in his grasp. Saddam Hussein was a lot of things, but he wasn't dumb. The worst case scenario is that he would train his own operatives to deliver a weapon to the US. But I'm not actually convinced that he wanted to actually attack the US. He had enough trouble with Iran- I don't think he had any illusions that the US wouldn't crush his army like we did (twice) anyway. Saddam was a bad, bad man for Iraqis. But I think he was just a big pain in the butt for Americans.

In the end, I'm happy for the Iraqi people, but I'm more scared for the American people. I think we sacrificed our own safety for the good (from a Kantian standpoint) of others, which is a virtuous choice, but not necessarily a wise policy choice. [If you're a consequentiallist, I think you're out of good pro-war arguments.]

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Date:2004-01-14 19:57

Very infrequently do I experience something so disturbing that I am moved to write about it immediately.

I just attended a lecture about the Teri Schiavo case by William L. Allen, J.D. (Associate Professor, Director, Program In Bioethics, Law and Medical Professionalism University of Florida College of Medicine)

What the frigging heck is going on with our news media and politicians? It's like they've taken over without checking with a) pre-existing laws b) the popular opinion c) facts.

Perhaps a little background is appropriate? Teri Schiavo was a 24 year old woman who had a heart attack that led to ischemia of her brain (this is 1990). She suffered enough brain damage to put her into a persistent vegetative state.

After eight years, the husband accepts that she is not going to recover, and tries to have her feeding and hydration tube removed, as per her wishes before the accident. This is a legal thing to do, according to the Florida Privacy Act (a law approved via refferendum). The parents flip out, and challenge his right to do this. In court, the judge rules that he can do it. They appeal. The appellate court upholds the ruling. They appeal again. The Florida Supreme Court won't even hear the case. They appeal again. The US Supreme Court won't even hear the case.

They try a few sneaky things to prolong the process: 1) finding a doctor who said that he had a treatment that could make her improve. this re-opens the case. However, this judge too rules in the husband's favor. It is later learned that this doc is under disciplinary action for advertising treatments that have no scientific basis. 2) All of the sudden, claiming that the husband has a conflict of interest as her guardian, becaise he gets money if she dies. This motion dies in court too.
At this point, they appeal to the governor, who says he sympathizes, but can't do anything.

So what do they do? They call Right to Life. They have an e-mail campaign and 150,000 e-mails are sent to governor Jeb Bush. They call CNN and every single TV station "reports" on this case without actually doing any investigation. They take a four hour long tape of Teri, find the 30 seconds in which she might be smiling, and air it for days.

In a day, Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature then passes "Teri's Law" which allows the governor to stay the removal of her feeding tube in this very specific situation. After the fact, every decent laywer you ask will admit the law is unconstitutional. Polls after the fact show that 65% of Floridians disagree with the actions of the governor. 75% would have wanted their spouse to chose their fates in the absence of an advanced directive. But thanks to Governor Bush, Teri is "alive" today, which apparently is a tremendous "moral" victory.

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Date:2004-01-10 02:14
Subject:New ramblings on a creator and us

Q: Could god make a rock so heavy that he couldn't ever lift it?

A: Duh! Of course he can! Dude can do whatever he feels like.

by definition, any supreme entity would have to be supreme, right? So, he/she/it would precede time, live outside of space, and think outside of logic. If God is supreme, then it is possible that time, space, and logic are not. (Humor me.)

What if he got sick of it... just plain bored, or just plain random. What if he felt like growing a conciousness? he would.
How long would it take? The question is irrelevant. He exists outside of time. Where would he grow it? Everywhere.

How would he grow it? However he grew it...

Everything inside of it, leading up to its culmination, would be slaves to his whim.

He could invent silly things like quarks and leptons, and make up arbitrary numbers like 3e8 and everything would have to obey. What the hey- how about three spacial dimensions and unidirectional time? Logic and other a priori stuff is just part of the game. We get a headache when we try to reason about a priori knowledge because we run on it, just like we live in 3D.

So the theory goes like this: We are part of the organic precursors in god's whimisical attempt to grow a physical body and an omnicient conciousness.

whether or not He has anything to do with morality... I'll get back to you on that. I think the answer is also in the definition... otherwise, the Euthyphro question becomes a brick wall.

This of course does not mean that I've given up on my theory that all terestrial life was designed by some crazy alien geneticist... all these meta-philisophical ranblings still don't touch on how aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases got evolved on a planet bound by logic.

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Date:2004-01-10 01:37
Subject:Dollar's down again?!

Maybe I'm just an idiot who doesn't know a strong economy when I see one... but does anyone out there know what the poopies is going on with American currency? (Can I swear on this thing?) Apparently, the weird thing is that securities are good. Employment, while still behind, is getting better. There's plenty of political unrest abroad. And we've pretty much wiped out the surplus and then some. Tarriffs were cut for major exporters too. This is scary... well, not scary but it is concerning.

Maybe the problem is that interest rates have not only hit rock bottom, but have vaporized the rock and lodged somewhere in fairy credit land. This is even scarier, because without anywhere left to go with the interest rate, some wicked inflation has got to follow... right? I guess the US has been kinda sketchy about paying back government debt too. Or maybe the unrest is in all the wrong places- I don't suppose that we really care how well the afghani or the dinar are doing. (I suppose the logical solution to that problem would be to invade France.) I heard from a little bird that some of Morgan's analysts were predicting this currency decline since last year (Dollar going to $1.40/euro... it's not there yet, but it's getting close). Those guys are smart. There's got to be a major reason that I'm missing...

I persnonally think it's a Canadian conspiracy run by that Martin guy. :)

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Date:2003-12-01 08:35
Subject:All you old school Gammas...

I was feeling nostalgic one day and I tracked down this oldie: http://www.clickomania.ch/

Oh, I long for those days when I used to camp out on the orange couch in 208 all day and play clickomania between classes and comittees because ecohouse was too far away. The competition between Jen Reedy and I was fierce, but in the end I was definitely no match.

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Date:2003-09-24 08:12

After all of this scientific education, I find myself believing more and more (of course, 'more' is a relative term) in a divine being. And I'm not just talking about some metaphysical entity that imparts morality and rules over the natural laws that hold our world together. I'm talking about some dude/tte in the sky who, one day, thought it would be cool to engineer a few human beings and toss them onto the planet with a bunch of other creatures that he/she made the day before. I wonder if it is possible to mathematically disprove a thermodynamically based theory of evolution. I suppose the closest thing one could prove is that it is statistically unlikely that a nucleic acids in primordial conditions could persist and polymerize to the point of self-replication. But I mean, RNA is unstable as all heck. (Are we allowed to swear on this thing?) I tried to get RNA from a mustard plant and all I got was DNA and greenish mush. Maybe we're part of some crazy Alien bioengineering experiment. I mean, I could definietly see us doing something freaky like that in a couple hundred years. Create some weird silicon-based bacterias and jettison them off to Alpha Centauri with the purpose to checking on them every few thousand years and then have budget cuts that cause us to forget about them for a few millenia.

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Date:2003-09-07 08:30
Subject:Since I'm terrible at maintaining communications

I figured I ought to make an attempt to keep people in the loop before I become one of those people who descends into oblivion. So this is what's been going on in my life since graduation.

I spent the summer doing two things. I helped the good ol' gang at Casperkill Summer Camp set up their medical stuff for about a month. Then it was off to officer training school in hot, sticky Montgomery, Alabama. I spent four weeks getting up at 0430 to be on the drill pad (and enthusiastic about it) for forty minutes of physical conditioning. Then we spent the rest of the day doing a variety of stuff, mostly academic stuff about managment skills and Air Force procedures and heritage. We also did cool team building stuff like a leadership reaction course, and a confidence (obstacle) course. It was overall a really good experience, though I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again any time soon. I'm sure it would have been a lot of fun, had I not been exteremely sleep deprived for the entire time. My roommate was super-man (aka Scott Lang). He was super cool, and extrememly motivated. He was the top academic student and a distinguished graduate (top 10% in leadership, academics, and physical conditioning) at training. I also managed to be named a distinguished graduate by just trying not to look like an idiot slacker next to him. My flight (Air Force equivalent of an army company) also won Honor Flight (top flight overall), which was the highlight of our experience there. My flight training officer, Capt. Shaffer was awesome. He was a really easy-going, very very straight-edge guy from Tennessee with a lot of great stories. He drove a mini pick up truck. From the experince, I've acquired the word "y'all," an excellent posture, really short hair, and the ability to get up at 6:30 and feel like I overslept.

After training, I came to Long Island where I set up my new place with Brett, an old friend from High School and fellow student at Stony Brook Medical School. We live in an awesome townhouse (You should all visit.) Already, Brett has earned a reputation for himself by being the guy who brings the funnel to the keggers. (Who said Med school was all work and no play?) Since I arrived, I've already dug a human heart out of a cadaver, been attacked by a screen door (I won the fight), and acquired a lost albino ferret. I also got a new car. It's sooooo sweeet! It's a white 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R, SPEC-V. Of course, it's a 6-speed, with 175 horses, and a Rockford Fosgate stereo with a woofer that can give you a concussion if you're not careful. I'm also trying to join the Coram fire dept, which has an AWESOME new 7 million dollar station. They've got a gym that's bigger than my house, an awesome hardwood bar, a TV roughly the size of my house, and aparatus that's all new and shiny. They're also probably going to put in an indoor running track, and a sauna and a couple of hot tubs.

I think that's the exciting stuff. I'm still single, so if anyone knows any cute girls, give me a heads up.

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Date:2003-07-26 11:21

I've finally gotten to a computer! Why is it that in the Air University of the world's most technologically advanced Air Force, there are only four computers on campus on which you can access e-mail? I find this most disturbing and inconvenient.

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Date:2003-04-19 00:58
Subject:One of those rare weeks.

This is shaping up to be one of those rare weeks when everything seems to pay off all at once. These are the times that make all the toil all worthwhile.

I had a great time at the Fire Dept. banquet, after being awarded some surprise awards. I kicked butt under severe stress in a group presentation on Sunday. I was finally awarded the USAF Health Professionals Scholarship on Monday, as well as being sworn in as a 2nd Lieutennant in the USAF Reserves, Medical Service Corps. Wednesday was just a gorgeous day. Thursday, I found out that I not only avoided bombing a really hard test (CHEME 481), but beat the mean by a bunch. And Friday, I finally received my Critical Care EMT certification. (He he- they're letting me stick people with needles!) Plus I managed to go to the gym like 2.5 times.

The best part of it all is that I actually worked my ass off for each and every one of these things. (Except maybe that CHEME 481 test and the weather.) Man, I wish there were more of these kind of weeks.

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Date:2003-02-26 00:22
Subject:Somewhere along the line...

Western religion got separated from western science. I think they may be on their way back together in the near future. The more I learn about "scientific" stuff, the more I believe that there's some dude messing with us.

I mean, at the seventh grade level, I was convinced the biological things work is because RNA randomly coalesced in primordial ooze and from there inefficient things died out and efficient things replicated. But at the 16th grade level, I've since learned that there has to be a lot of things going right for a bacteria to evolve. Moreover, more things have to go right than tragically wrong, which I think is much more likely. I mean, I spent WEEKS isolating mRNA in large concentrations, and in like five minutes total thaw time, it all degraded on me. I mean, look at the T4 phage. Come on! You're gonna tell me that this thing randomly evolved? If it were just the result of dumb luck- then "dumb luck" is a great power to be respected, admired, and even feared.

Physics is no better (and of course Chemistry is derived from physics). Everything falls into place in nice tidy laws but the more detailed and complex you get, the more you get the feeling that you're still in the pursuit of "second causes." I mean, why does light travel at 3e8 m/s? Because it does. That's it's nature. Why isn't the diameter of a circle exactly proportional to its circumference? Doesn't that strike anyone as odd?

Anyway, it all makes me feel like there's some "first cause" that transcends our current mode of logic. That's my procrastination for the night. (Besides talking to Bonnie for an hour- but that was well overdue. ; ) )

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Date:2003-02-13 21:56
Subject:Holy Crap

My "Intro to Handgun Safety" Instructor is certifiably loony. He is the poster-boy for gun control.

This man believes that he is the safest guy in the world. He owns a veritable arsenal of long-guns, including two AR-15's (civilian assault rifle similar to the M-16... AR-16's are sold too). And he has a permit completely filled with the listing of handguns he owns.

(Side note: You don't need a permit to own a long-gun- i.e. shotgun, rifle, or assault rifle, so if you had $500, a mailing address, and Internet service, you could start your own war: http://www.jtdistributing.com/ of course, it's illegal to install parts to make your AR-15 full-auto. But it's not too difficult.).

He sleeps with his loaded glock (because guns are useless if you keep the ammo somewhere else). He keeps a loaded pistol in his car. He first took his son shooting at age 4. When he taught him how to shoot, he him fire one cylinder of 0.22 blanks, and figured it'd be safe enough for the kid to fire live rounds.

And because he's never had a problem with his kids, he figures gun control is just another way the State is trying to take away your rights.

All that being said... I'm glad he's the one teaching me how to shoot cause he knows his stuff.

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Date:2003-01-30 08:28
Subject:Do we need Allies?

Thought I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it, I think the end result of Bush's statement has a point. Except that he said it like "we can kick the crap out of Iraq with or without those other silly countries."

Whereas if he had said, " We realize that our acts against Iraq may incur retribution against the citizens of our allies. Because of this, we would not ask other nations to risk their citizens for our noble cause. But we would, as always, be eternally greatful for the support and guidance of the other free nations of the world." That might have been a little better received.

The fact of the matter is that other nations have not been directly attacked. We have. The reason that we have, has largely to do with the fact that we support Israel. Now we're asking other nations to risk attack by allying with us. And frankly, it's a lot easier for Iraq and Al Quaeda to launch attacks on Turkey and Saudi Arabia than New York and D.C. While I believe the cause is right, the risks for other nations are very great and they are justified in holding back.

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Date:2003-01-26 11:05
Subject:At the top of the world.

Last night, I managed to make two huge accomplishments.

1) I moved my car right before it was towed. Granted, I got a ticket, but I managed to avoid the ridiculous impound charges and the huge headache of retrieving my vehicle.

2) I think I managed to tone down John Putnam's annoyingness by nearly making him piss himself. He was flicking my ear constantly as I was driving both to and from Lauren's party. So, as I was going over Thurston Bridge, I slammed on the brakes and turned around mid-skid to grab his collar and tell him to cut the shit out. It was very effective. (Don't worry- I make it sound much more dangerous than it actually was.) It was just one of those things that I knew I'd regret not doing later.

in other encouraging news from yesterday...

3) yesterday, I also helped scramble 1000 eggs, cook 1000 pancakes (flapjacks), and fry 78 pounds of bacon, in all raising $2500 for a burnt out family in my fire district.

4) I (finally) finished Fellowship of the Ring and started the Two Towers. At this rate, I might finish Return of the King before the movie actually comes out. P. S. Bonnie, you can swing by and pick up your book anytime it's convenient... :)

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